"You are as much a resource as google"
The subject of judicial selection traditionally draws a lot of hew and cry, but little passion. The first piece I ever did on Room 8 was about Judicial selection, and drew exactly zero comments, despite the fact it was written to offend the delicate sensibilities of nearly everyone (I’ll try to minimize repetition with the ground covered there).
"The Dean, and the premier source of legitimate information"
As a public service to the perplexed I am providing links to the posts of mine most relevant to each of the contested races in this year’s primary. I’ve also written something resembling commentary concerning each of those races I’ve not already given any attention on Room 8 (although some comments are adapted from posts I’ve made elsewhere). This article is intended to be comprehensive, and covers every race for public office where a contested primary is taking place in the City of New York (as per the Board of Elections Website on September 1, 2006).
"Chris Owens …has a naivette about the world that members of Congress are sometimes forced to confront. Owens is right that we would have been better off not going to war in Iraq, but there are times when the United States does need to defend its interests with might. Owens indicated to our editorial board that there is almost no fight he’d be willing to join."
Brooklyn Paper Editorial 9/2/06
"With the loss of Cynthia McKinney Charles would do well to fill her shoes. He has the anger and the wisdom that will keep him from assaulting a cop..."
From The Amsterdam News' endorsement of Charles Barron for Congress.
SHOWCASING A NEW YORK GEM WITH A PRICE ABOVE RUBIES
You are truly a valuable New Yorker who is generationally significant and historically important, endowed as you are with your unique and magnificent background, turbo- boosted with intellectual firepower, you have delivered an awesome series of columns which addresses not only the issues before it with the clarity of an eagle’s eye and the unyielding grip of undeniable logic, but even identified some of the remedies that voters might wish to address by unleashing their democratic instincts.
Your columns, aside from being poetry-in-action and some of the finest pieces of political thinking and writing, has secured to our children's children a coherent worldview for the ages and beyond into paradise himself, which without your efforts, might, in the vision of Milton, be lost for eternity. Your work is also the convergence and coexistence of thought and reason. It is like the late leader of the Brooklyn Democracy himself, drawing his partner’s share while filling my pockets with bountiful receiverships. Your efforts are truly masterpieces, on the level of the “The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation” or “Bitches Brew”.
The press coverage of the campaign for State Attorney General has so far concerned either mudslinging, or who is ahead in the horse race, rather than the substance; but, it’s hard to blame the press, because so little in the way of substance has been raised by either of the major candidates (or, for that matter, any of the others). Perhaps this is because neither one of the major candidates really wants the job.
Mark Green thinks he should be US Senator, would like to be Mayor, and now understands that, like Alan Hevesi, his future glory lies in the past, and it’s time to settle for one of those elected positions to which New Yorkers like to give life tenure. If he serves as long as Louie Lefkowitz or Arthur Levitt, he can maximize his pension while becoming a beloved alter kocker and having a state office building named for him which will eventually be turned into luxury condos.
DUD OF THE MONTH
Chris Owens: Love Is The Way (Loser Single ’06). This is clearly aimed at a crossover market which may not exist. The rap elements lack serious street cred, leading to charges of fakin’ da funk (which is admittedly better than fakin’ da diploma), while the reggae elements might seem more at home on a Belafonte record. The Kansas/Styx type organ clearly makes one wonder if the man has any understanding of the white crossover elements he seeks to attract. Still, the boy can sing and he sings his heart out. Says Azi: "he's probably the best singing politician since...Gifford Miller and Joseph Crowley (Sorry Patrick Jenkins.)", begging the question, "what about John Hall?" Well, having attended Hall's recent concert at Town Hall, I'd give the nod to Owens. As to the message, it’s all in the title. The solution to all the world’s problems is “Love”. One wonders if Mr. Owens has ever visited the matrimonial part of Brooklyn Supreme Court. Maybe he should ask his dad. And, even if one restricts the prescription purely to matter of foreign policy, it seems a mite simplistic. As the Israelis might query concerning Hezbollah, “what if my love is unrequited?” But Chris Owens is not where one goes for nuance. He is clearly a Quaker who's feeling his oats; he will not settle for the troops coming home tomorrow; only today will do. Me, I’d settle for sometime next week. B-
"Mr. Yassky is undoubtedly an opportunist, as are most politicians and certainly all those in this race. …The residents of the 11th District deserve the best representation possible. In this race, that is David Yassky, who gets our endorsement"
The New York Times Editorial Page 8/30/06
"There’s a touch of opportunism is Yassky’s candidacy which has echoes elsewhere in his record … Yassky is still the smartest, most knowledgeable, and best on the issues. In a better world that would be game, set and match."
In trying to put together a column on the race for Attorney General, I followed my usual method of pulling up all the prior comments I’ve made on this topic from the web. Once I finished my study of the minor candidates in Part One, I deleted all those posts and was left with two piles of garbage; one talking about “Cuomo, Not the Homo” and the other about Freddy Ferrer kissing Al Sharpton’s ass; so much for the majesty of the law.
For the record, I think that both of these rattling closet skeletons amount to far less than meets the eye. However, since mention of one almost begs the question of the other, one wonders about the good sense of both campaigns for keeping these matters alive. And since a fish rots from the head, which seems to be the point in both purported scandals, the fact that these matters have sucked up so much air does not speak well of either of the competitors.
Thank to Robert Moses, New York has one of the strongest Governorships in the country. The Moses-created state budget process is actually designed to strip the legislature of its legislative powers. The legislature’s response has been to use the lemons it’s been left with to churn out the sour juice of obstruction, which is not quite the same as demanding accountability. There are, however, other places we might look for such relief. Ideally, the offices of NYS Comptroller and Attorney General are perfect opportunities to create oppositional institutions within the state’s Executive Branch which could be used for such a purpose. With that goal in mind, I became an early supporter of the Attorney General candidacy of the State Assembly’s in-house pitbull, Richard Brodsky of Westchester, in spite of the fact that he is a pompous and overbearing blowhard. My theory was that Brodsky, an unrelenting muckraker, was guaranteed to drive whoever was elected as governor stark raving mad, which they would undoubtedly come to deserve. Brodsky also plays a mean blues piano.
Gatemouth Spanks the Monkey: Some Musings Concerning The Theory of My Political Evolution (Second of Two Parts)
"I don't know just where I'm going, But I'm going to try for the kingdom if I can"
As I’ve noted in Part One, left-of-center blogger Mole333 has taken public issue with my DLC-tainted brand of neo-liberalism, essentially calling me outside to settle it in the streets. In response, I questioned how far he’d evolved on the scale of political evolution. Beyond my ideology, or lack thereof, Mole has also taken issue with my tendency to look at politicians realistically. “And some (like, it seems to me, our friend Gatemouth) simply think all candidates are pretty much the same and despair of finding excitement in supporting a candidate...in fact they seem disdainful of anyone who actually shows some enthusiasm for a candidate.” He tends to conflate this criticism with my neo-liberalism, as if they were one and the same, but my cynicism towards pols is a tendency I share with not a few of his friends on the hard left, while muddle-headed idealism tends to blind at least some who sit in my political corner, particularly those who refuse to look at Joe Lieberman in a critical manner.
“Not only has the left loudly pressured Democratic nominees into constant courtship, our ideological militants have also limited the Democrats ability to defend themselves from the Republicans…If you are a liberal officeholder, many of your hardest working supporters will tell you that you are “notsaposta” denounce the viciousness of those who commit violent crimes…or that America today continues to be one of the places in the world where political and artistic expression is the freest. In practice, then, the notsaposta is the passionately sincere but grievously mistaken view that acknowledging a troubling truth will weaken a party’s ability to resist the conclusions that its political opponents might draw from those truths"
I have been recently been taken to task for my use of the phrase “the Michael Moore wing of the Democratic Party”. Given the use of the term “Michael Moore Democrats” by Republicans who’d like to tar us all, I think it is important to draw the distinction in my use. My usage is to make clear that while this tendency does exist, and exemplifies a strong and virulent strain of thought on the American left, it should not be used as a broad brush to tar us all. Frankly, the Moore group is smaller than it appears; unfortunately, the problem is twofold; its prominence among the media, which magnifies its importance to observers in the punditocracy and the heartland, and its malignant influence among other liberals who really do not believe in the same mindless kant. One reader said to me “I am damned proud to be a Michael Moore Democrat.” However, I don’t think he really understands what he is saying.
The number of phone calls I’ve gotten urging me to support Chris Owens for Congress because he is the most “progressive” candidate, has gotten me thinking (always a dangerous activity). The term “progressive” is obviously meant as a shorthand, but shorthand for what? Earlier this year, WFP Executive Director Dan Cantor said Eliot Spitzer would be the most progressive Democratic governor since FDR, ignoring the fact that Roosevelt’s immediate successor, Herbert Lehman, was clearly more progressive than FDR. Moreover, depending upon how the word is defined, Spitzer might also be said to be less “Progressive” than Charles Poletti, Averill Harriman, Hugh Carey and Mario Cuomo. Mario's WORDS were certainly more progressive than Spitzer's; Mario's DEEDS (to the extent he ever did anything but blame his complete lack of accomplishments on a Republican Senate he refused to expend any of his political capital, monetary or otherwise, on trying to alter for the better) may not so qualify.
The Lunatics Will Soon Be Back Running the Asylum (or The Not So Lonesome Discomfort of Frank McKay)
So, in the Independence Party court battle over whether the constitutional right to free speech trumps the constitutional right to free association (for the all the gory details, click here), a Brooklyn Court has punted, deciding that what really matters is blind adherence to the plain language of the state’s pernicious election laws, which allows a party the right to attempt to dis-enroll its voters, but only at the request of a county’s local party chair. Since the county parties in question were all controlled by the Fulani-Newman anti-Semitic cult, rather than Party Chair Frank McKay’s ragtag coalition of fast-buck opportunist and tin-foil hatted nutcases, this would appear to be game, set and match. In an incidental and accidental victory for free speech, the Fulaniite zombies will still be able to exercise their First Amendment right to regurgitate whatever hateful bile Fred Newman instructs them to chant, without being deprived of their ability to belong to the Party of Fred's choice. Another defeat for the imperialist, Zionist, running dog lackies of International Capital. "But", in the words of Bob Dylan, "you who philospohize disgrace, and criticize all fears, take the rag away from your face, now ain't the time for your tears".